XJ6 & XJ12 Series I, II & III 1968-1992

Looking to Break into Jags

Old 02-07-2009, 07:01 PM
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Hi Sterling,

Welcome to the world of masochists, aka, Jaguar owners. Seriously though, I would recommend going with a '95 or later XJ series in that price range. The engines (six cylinders) are pretty much bullet proof, but some of the electronic and ancillary items like a/c may be an issue. Since you are in SoCal, the A/C will be more important than heat. Check out the tires and suspension items as well. I had a 1996 XJ6 for a number of years and it was pretty reliable overall. I just traded it in for a 2005 S-Type.

Good luck,

Old 02-07-2009, 07:12 PM
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in my opinion the best years are the Series 3 XJ-6 made from 1980 thru 1987.
There is the 2-seater XJ-S in 6 and 12 cylinders but I assume you want the 4-door Sedan.

you can get a Series 3 XJ-12 (same body as the 6) which was made until 1992 and exported to Canada but not the US. Those are a maintenance nightmare unless you find an expertly maintained example. Those were numbered 1-100 at the factory. Very rare.

I may be wrong but I don't think you will find a choice car in California for the money you want to spend. A choice Jaguar will cost you more in California.

1988 begins the Series 4 in the US, known as the XJ-40. It is a nice car but they have many digital electronics which are (sgain) a maintenance nightmare. They also have a self-leveling rear suspension which is as good as the 1970's Citroen self-leveling system, in other words, it doesn't work and you end up with hydraulic leaks and rear tires that look like an A.

The Series 3 has analog electronics and those are 150% more reliable, lot of parts availability at good prices and lots of support.

I will have owned my 1984 XJ-6 for 19 years next March, most reliable CAR I ever had,
I'm the second owner. Maybe that's why. But by now most of those cars are on their 4th and 6th owners, and you never know how they were treated by those previous owners.

So spend the money and buy a choice car you can drive home, one that has stayed in the same family since new, it doesn't pay to restore these or to buy someone else's problem.

Old 02-07-2009, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SterlingPrice View Post
I'm looking to pick up a reasonably priced Jag, 2k - 3.5k range over here on the west coast. Since this is going to be my first foray in the wonderful world of Jaguars, I wanted to come ask the experts, what are some things to look for when looking to make a quality purchase? I'm sure some issues are easier to address than others, but I'm also interested in subtle model differences and insider quirks. My grandfather had a Jag since I was a kid and it's time for me to get one of my own. I'm leaning towards a late 80's XJ6. Any advice or input would be great.


Don't take this wrong but the price range you're shopping in as gonna make a "quality purchase" a little difficult to find. Oh, you might find a decent example but its gonna need some attention.

Here's some info on the Ser I-II-III XJ6/12 cars

As mentioned, "late eighties" vintage would probably mean what we call the "XJ40" variant. While they have a certain loyal following the first couple years of this model don't have the best reputation but by 1990-91 they were much improved. Even still, age and miles take their toll.

Anyway, in your price range you'll have lots to choose from. Look at lots of cars and pick the nicest one with the best service records and that has the least number of inoperative accessories/sub-systems. A fully functioning climate control is a real "plus", by the way.

Old 02-08-2009, 07:04 AM
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You've heard from the long time owners, now I'll give you input from someone pretty much in the same boat as you and what I've found.
A) The resources for Jags are phenomenal.
B) The support found here has been great.
C) I am in the process of doing what they recommend against,, restoring/freshening up a Series III. (I won't get into my long story) and despite that fact, there is still an awful lot of support.
D) I have found this Jag community (the entire community I've had dealings with so far) to be very comfortable. I do not feel like an outsider.
E) My opinion: I like the curves and looks of the earlier Series cars more so than the later model sedans.
F) As of yet, I don't have any real experience with reliability, difficulty to work on, etc.. BUT I have found that you can pretty much build a Series car piece by piece from a catalog.
G) Jags rust. The Jag lovers site that Doug recommends has LOTS of great info. From what I've seen already is that what you're looking to spend will find you a runner. As Doug said, it will most probably need some work. It will run and drive but be prepared to either spend more money to get it to a point of reasonable reliability/less rust or be ready to do that work yourself.

Welcome aboard.. the water's fine!

Talk soon,
Old 02-08-2009, 07:39 AM
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The Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 XJ Saloon are essentially the same body. The changes were made in the front grilles and rear tail lamps. Some other changes are not so obvious, like the lowering of the hardtop, but essentially they are all the same body from 1968 thru 1987.

The grille became shorter as the years went by, the tail lamps became larger. The bumpers became massive due to the US 5mph impact regulations.

if you look at most cars today, they all copy the triangular tail lamps of the Series 3. Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, you name it, they all copy the Jaguar S3 XJ tail lamps, seems like they became a Standard Of The Industry.

Old 02-11-2009, 04:35 PM
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Welcome. I bought a 1982 Series 3. I thought I'd end up with a Series 2 but for realibility and comfort and style, the seiries 3 has the 1 & 2 beat. I will keep this car for 10 years, then hopefully give it to one of my kids and get an E-Type.

Maintence and cost: The forum here will be your best friend. Never buy anything, or do anything without checking in here first. (I wasted 1000 dollars on a heater core and installation which I did not need and did nothing for me but waste my time and money.) Had I checked in here first I would have bought the AC Compressor for 125 bucks. Any way this forum is the best. If the rear brakes (rotors and pads) have been done, and the AC and heat work you will be ahead of the game. I have had trouble with both systems, and invested over 2K in both systems together. The car only costed me 2800 dollars, so getting one that works properly is pretty important. I am not sorry I bought the car though, because it looks like a million bucks.

Get the color combination you want and be picky choosing these cars..... there are many examples out there. Resist buying a car online you cant drive and check out personally. Everything looks good in pictures, but there is a real benefit to sitting behind the wheel, smelling the air in the cab and just generally feeling it out. Doug wrote an exellent article on jag lovers on picking out one of these autos, you need to read it. I knew for 6 months what kind of a car I wanted, and so Ijust waited patiently untill a good clean car in my color combination and price range surfaced. The funnest (one of the funnest) times in car ownership is picking one out. Savor it. Welcome and enjoy the ride.
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